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Reminding yourself to be in a Context, and watch lists

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  • Reminding yourself to be in a Context, and watch lists

    I have noticed a few times that I will be working on my @work contexts, and then forgetting things that I needed to pick up (@errands), or a second facility I need to do some work at (@other building). How do people "remind" themselves to be in certain contexts. I don't want to put these in my @work context because it will be things that I cannot do in that context. Should I make a task "Go to place x", in @work, thereby not listing the tasks that are in the other contexts, but reminding myself to go? What do you do?

    My other question is that I have several "things" that I am monitoring or watching. For example, monitoring temperature change in a certain area of the building, or watching the price of eggs in china. These really aren't projects or next actions. What are they?
    Thanks

  • #2
    I would put in my calendar that I need to be in another context. You only need to make one of the tasks in that context on your calendar, and when you're in that context you'll check all the other tasks. For example, I like to put 'do grocery shopping' on my calendar, and then when I'm about to leave the house I'll check my errands list for any other tasks I can do while I'm out. I might do 3-4 things on my list, but by having one on my calendar that I'm committed to doing, I spend time in that context and also get some others done. Alternatively block out time on the calendar.

    Watching or monitoring - I would put this on my workday checklist.

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    • #3
      Check all contexts at breaks

      I also can both choose to move to another context pretty much at will and also sometimes forget to go into a specific context (other building etc).

      My tactic is to check my total list of contexts at natural breaks, when I go to the bathroom, get coffee or finish a major action. That way I don't miss something I really need to move into and yet I don't clutter my calendar with non time specific items.

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      • #4
        dito Oogiem. and seeing the hard deadlines in my Due list in OmniFocus. I guess on paper you could make a similar Due list during the WR just for stuff that is Due during the upcoming week, if you want your calender to be clear of those things.
        Last edited by mthar1; 11-20-2011, 05:20 AM.

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        • #5
          I have @Work context. I use tags under that context for @Iphone, @Mac, @Office. Though I'm almost everyday in the office it feels pretty hard to leave my chair and start doing @Office tasks when I'm in the @IPhone or @Mac contexts. I decided not to force myself to do @Office tasks but before I leave my chair for a cup of coffee or going out to do something I try to get into the habit to check my @Office list so I can do something from their on the way.

          As for @Errands context I prefer to do it during weekends when I have time.

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          • #6
            I consider monitoring things to be a series of actions. I also treat my "waiting-for's" as actions (i.e. what is the next thing I will have to do and when, such as reminding the
            person to do it).

            For monitoring, I put a page in my tickle file, and each time I do the action I move
            the page to another future date.

            For monitoring several similar things or even different things with similar timescales,
            I could put them all on one page and do them all at once.

            For things that need to be done more than once a day I might use a reminder on
            the computer or set my watch to beep, or I could put a reminder on top of my
            lunch or something.

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            • #7
              Seems like context most often refers to a physical space or environment.

              Suppose that your environment remains pretty much the same (say you work from home) -- the next level of focus is your next actions. Seems like next actions don't have the focus that context does -- they take you right down into the weeds. That slightly higher-level focus that you get with context is very helpful. So, given a constant context, how do you choose a focus? Does it relate to time of day, or to energy level? Does it relate to deadline-driven stuff or to what Covey calls quadrant 2? Do you try to allocate a minimum amount of time to various focuses? Do you consciously choose an area to focus on, or do you just dive right down to the next action list and plow through it?

              Thanks,
              Rob

              Comment


              • #8
                I think that what you do is usually driven by the context of the day. It is silly to do Weekly Review at the pick of the day in the office when people run around and constantly come to your place. You should think when is the right context to do a particular type of action.

                Weekly Review requires quiet time alone so the best context to do it is when you're on your own. It means to be alone at home, or locked at your office, or at a coffee shop. The same applies to computer related actions. It is better to leave your office for an hour and sit at a coffee shop to do them or stay for another 30 minutes after lunch at a restaurant.

                As for calls and office action - that's what makes best your office time along with planned and unplanned meetings. Calls could also be made at your commute time.

                It looks like a context reminds of what to do not vice versa!

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                • #9
                  This is something I've been thinking about lately also. There's so many different ways to group how and when you DO actions. It could be by AOF, goal, project, type, context, timeframe (ie daily to do list). For example, context may make sense for some action ie running errands. But if I want to move a project forward it's going to be much better for me to work on a single project for an extended period time, doing action, after action, consecutively until I basically either am waiting for something or I have completed the project. This is why I think a lot of people use GTD in conjunction with some kind of time-blocking system. Otherwise its to easy to slip "into the weeds" as you put it.

                  EO

                  Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post
                  Seems like context most often refers to a physical space or environment.

                  Suppose that your environment remains pretty much the same (say you work from home) -- the next level of focus is your next actions. Seems like next actions don't have the focus that context does -- they take you right down into the weeds. That slightly higher-level focus that you get with context is very helpful. So, given a constant context, how do you choose a focus? Does it relate to time of day, or to energy level? Does it relate to deadline-driven stuff or to what Covey calls quadrant 2? Do you try to allocate a minimum amount of time to various focuses? Do you consciously choose an area to focus on, or do you just dive right down to the next action list and plow through it?

                  Thanks,
                  Rob

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've had to be careful of this too. I use RTM and had a saved search that showed me "due this week". The problem was that I wasn't getting to my other context lists. I only thought about what was due on that list. I've found that it actually helped me to get rid of the search and just concentrate on where I am. When at work, it's @work and @computer. When at home, it's @home or @computer. When I get in the car, there's the @errands list. For me, it was more a matter of focus than a system problem.

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